In your coaching business, your website is an essential tool for connecting with the clients you most want to serve. To help you figure out the best approach to take for your website, I'm joined by today's guest, Shannon Mattern. Shannon Mattern is an expert when it comes to designing easy-to-use, easy-to-navigate, and easy-to-create websites.
In your coaching business, your website is an essential tool for connecting with the clients you most want to serve. To help you figure out the best approach to take for your website, I’m joined by today’s guest, Shannon Mattern.
Shannon Mattern is an expert when it comes to designing easy-to-use, easy-to-navigate, and easy-to-create websites. Back in 2016 when I was just starting out, Shannon was the first person I encountered in the world of online entrepreneurship and her 5 Day Website Challenge was the only reason I was able to create my website.
I’m so grateful for the strong foundation she’s helped me build in my business and I credit so much of my business growth and success to her. I wouldn't be doing the work I'm doing today if it wasn't for her programs and I'm so thrilled to share her and her work with you today.
- How Shannon helps business owners
- Shannon’s transition from side hustle to self-employed
- Choosing the right website platform for your coaching business
- How Shannon’s 5-day website challenge helped me when I was starting my business
- Shannon’s Perfect Homepage Layout strategy
- Bringing traffic to your website
- The best way to approach your freebies
- Shannon Mattern’s Free 5 Day Website Challenge
- Shannon Mattern’s Website
- Shannon Mattern’s Podcast | Pep Talks for Side Hustlers
- Coach with Clarity Membership
- Connect with Me on Instagram
- Email Me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Now it’s time for you to show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity! Screenshot this episode and tag me on Instagram @coachwithclarity and let me know what you’re more excited to explore in future podcast episodes!
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Well, hello, my friend, and welcome to the Coach with Clarity Podcast. I'm your host, Lee Chaix McDonough and I am so excited that you are joining me for today's episode because it is a very special interview with someone who has seen me through every single stage of my coaching business. Her name is Shannon Mattern, and she is the expert when it comes to designing easy to use, easy to navigate, easy to create websites. When I first started my business back in 2016, I taught myself how to create a website. And I was able to do so because of Shannon's outstanding resources. So, she really was the very first person I encountered in the world of online entrepreneurship, and I credit so much of my business growth and success to her. I really don't think I would be doing the work I'm doing today if it weren't for her programs. And that's why I am so thrilled to share her and her work with you today. So, let's get right to it. Here's my interview with web expert Shannon Mattern.
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Lee: Well, hi, Shannon, thank you so much for coming on the Coach with Clarity Podcast, I'm so excited to have you here.
Shannon: Thank you so much for having me.
Lee: So let's get started by talking a little bit about who you are, your background and the work you do for the world.
Shannon: Yeah, so I am Shannon, as you said, and I teach online business owners or any kind of business owner, entrepreneur, how to build their own website so that they can run their business online and have that freedom, flexibility, and financial independence that we all kind of crave when we decide we don't want to work for someone else anymore. And we want to be our own boss and start our own business. So, my goal is to really empower anybody who wants to do that to leverage technology to their advantage, and not have it be like a barrier that can stop them from reaching their goals. Which typically are freedom, financial independence, and flexibility. But also, like, the big impact that they want to have on other people's lives. So that's my thing, I teach people how to build their own website, and then actually get traffic to their website so that they can have that big impact that they want to have.
Lee: And we are going to dive into that in today's interview, so I'm super excited for that. But I do want to say that I have been in your world for about five years. In fact, when I was first getting my own business started, your work and your resources were instrumental. And honestly, Shannon, I don't think I would have the business that I do today, had it not been for you, and for the challenge. And getting to watch you over the last five years move from working for someone else to working for yourself has been quite the journey. So when you talk about helping people transition into working for themselves, you do that because you've lived it. What was that experience like for you as you transitioned into being your own boss?
Shannon: First of all, I have to say, it's incredible to me anytime someone tells me that story. That little thing that I do on the internet has really helped them realize their dream, it totally blows my mind every time. So, thank you for saying that, because that's why I do what I do. So every time I hear that, it just makes me so happy. So, the transition that I made from side hustle to self employed, what I did not realize was going to be a personal development journey for me all the way through, I had all the skills I needed. From day one, I knew all of the tech,and the marketing strategies, and I think this is where our worlds really collide: I did not have the mindset that I needed. I didn't have the support that I needed from a coach or from a mentor that could really help me think in new ways, and think in different ways, and guide me throughout that journey. So, most of my journey was realizing, “Oh, here's this block that has nothing to do with my skill set, or technology, or any kind of marketing strategy is not going to come in here and fix this”. It's my mindset, I need some coaching. I have some limiting beliefs or I have some fear. And so, my journey from side hustle to self employed was, yes, quite a bit like trial and error, marketing strategy, all of that. But, without the mentoring and the support, I don't think I would have made it to where I am today.
Lee: That resonates so strongly with me. Because when I think about my own journey as an entrepreneur, a lot of it was not coming from a place of a knowledge deficit, or even a skill deficit. It was, “Do I have what it takes to do this? Can I be a success at this?”, and that was a lot of internal work I had to do and a lot of mindset work. So yes, I think that's a part of the journey that at least I wasn't fully ready for, the level of personal self development that occurred as I was building out my business too. So I think we've got a shared experience there. So I am so thrilled to have you on the show, because I do consider you to be just an expert in helping people create websites for their business, and then bring people into their business because of that. So, I get a lot of questions from Coach with Clarity members, and from people in the Coach with Clarity community on Facebook, about websites. You know, “What needs to be there? How do they build them?”. So coming to you as the expert, like, I'm really so excited to have you on the show. So, the number one question I get a lot is, “Where should I build my website?”. There are so many platforms out there, from traditional ones like WordPress and Squarespace. And now we have kind of all in one platforms, like Kajabi, where you can do websites as well. So I'm curious to hear from you. What do you feel like is the best platform for coaches to look at when they're first getting started building their website?
Shannon: So this is probably not going to be a super popular answer, because it's kind of a non answer, but there is no wrong choice, okay? So there really is no wrong choice. It is not that you are going to pick a Kajabi, or Squarespace, or WordPress, and doom your business forever because this is the platform that you chose. When you choose that platform, I would just say do your research to find out what their support is like. What kind of communities are out there for users who can support you with some questions, that are maybe like, that their customer support would not potentially handle like customizations or strategies or things like that. Who is out there making training courses teaching you how to take this platform and use it in different ways that can support your business? So for me, I teach WordPress, that is where my expertise is. That's what I teach in my free five day website challenge, I teach that end to end. And that is not to say that there are other people out there teaching Kajabi like that, and teaching Squarespace like that, or whatever platform you choose. So if you have the resources, you do not have to start out with something like Kajabi, that's more expensive, when you're just starting out. I'm all about like, minimum viable website. Like you're just getting started, you're testing your ideas, you're testing out your coaching business, and probably the format, and all the things that you want. So I would just make sure that whatever you're choosing, the most expensive thing isn't always the best thing. It's really going to be the thing that's going to help you get online the quickest, and be the most nimble for you. So that as your business evolves, because it's going to, that you're not locked into this system that you built out end to end that you weren't even quite ready for anyway. So, I'm all about the simplest thing that makes the most sense to you, is what I would choose, and then just become a student of that platform. And if WordPress is what you choose, I would love to help you. And if it’s Squarespace or something else, go find the expert. There are plenty of people out there that teach that.
Lee: I will say as someone who signed up for your free five day website challenge way back in 2016, seriously like-
Shannon: Wow, it's so much better now.
Lee: Well, and yeah, but it was amazing then. And, what I appreciated about it, and what I still appreciate about it, is the fact that I now understand what goes into creating a website. Now I am by no means a website designer or developer, I'm now at the point where I have people that I trust who can help me with that work. But when I was first getting started in 2016, and I was bootstrapping my business, I was DIY’ing just about everything, including my website. And so, the challenge allowed me to get a fundamental understanding of how it works, and what goes into it. So now when I work with other designers, I understand what it is they're doing, what it is they need from me. And if I need to go in and make any sort of quick updates on the fly, I can do that because I received such a solid foundational understanding through the challenge. So I will make sure that we have links to the five day challenge in the show notes for sure. And, I will say that I personally, I think because I've completed the challenge, I do have a bias towards WordPress. That is generally what I recommend for people. with the understanding that, you know, there's a bit of a learning curve. And that's why working with someone like you can be really helpful when you're first getting started.
Shannon: Yeah, I also have a bias toward WordPress. You know, I've explored other platforms, I know that they're all trying to solve that ease of use problem. But what they sometimes end up doing is taking away some of the flexibility, and sometimes they actually make it harder to accomplish some of the things that we need to accomplish in our businesses. And so, I am truly all about you being empowered, one way or another. Whether that's empowered to DIY or empowered to know what you're hiring someone to do for you. But then I also see analysis paralysis, on the flip side. Where it's like, “Okay, I'm partial to WordPress. But if you're not going to touch it with a 10 foot pole, I'd rather you start your business, and start out with what you're going to actually use”.
Lee: Exactly. So, the idea that we are starting as we intend to continue, is so important when building out your website. Because as you said, and I love this, at first we just need to get a minimum viable website up there. As our business grows, as we grow, as we become more comfortable with our niche, and who we are serving, and what we're doing, then our website can grow with us. But when we're first getting started, I'm curious to hear from you. What do you feel like are the non negotiable required elements that need to be on a website?
Lee: That is brilliant. I just want to say, I just want to interject, that is so smart. And I don't think I've seen anyone else do that. But what a fantastic opportunity to get data about the people who clearly are interested in you and what you have to offer. So a survey on the thank you page. I love it.
Shannon: Do it. And people always ask me, “Do I need a blog?”. And the answer is, if you want to blog. But please do not withhold going live with your website until you have written five blog posts. You're gonna learn so much about what kind of content you want to create, by working with people first.
Lee: That's so true. And when I was building out my website, I started with a blog. And I hated it. I hated blogging, which is weird because I enjoy writing. I've written a book. But blogging just never felt natural to me. It honestly wasn't until I started podcasting that I felt like, “Oh, this is my medium”. This is how I can teach people and bring people into my world. But I wouldn't have known that had I not started with the blog, I had some false starts. And that's all part of the entrepreneurial journey.
Shannon: Absolutely, absolutely. People that get it right the first time, I want to meet those people. I haven't talked to like, over 100 people on my podcast, Pep Talks for Side Hustlers, about their journey from side hustle to self employed, and nobody had the straight clean shot like it all went perfect, they have no mistakes to tell me about.
Lee: That's just not how it works. We need those false starts, we need those oops’s, you know, in order to find out, “Oh, this is what I'm really meant to do. This is where I'm meant to be”. And it's funny, I think at some point, I'll have to go back and use like the Wayback Machine, and find my original incarnation of my website. Woo girl, it was workable, you know, we all have to start somewhere. But it's definitely been a journey over the last five years to get from where I was then to where I am now. And I don't regret any of it. I really don't, I wouldn't necessarily relive all of it. But I don't regret it.
Shannon: I agree. And I mean, I'm a web designer and my first website, I'm like, “Oh, that's embarrassing”. But that embarrassing website, like I started. And it got me where I am today. And I would not change it at all.
Lee: Yes. So for everyone who's listening, if you are feeling a little intimidated about getting your website up, because it's not going to be perfect, well understand, it's not going to be perfect. No one's is, and it is a constantly evolving process. And your website will continue to evolve and grow just as you do, in your business. So don't be afraid to put something out there. And, definitely check out the five day challenge for -it's almost like I felt Shannon, like you were holding my hand through the whole process. I felt so taken care of and so guided through in a way that, like I've never experienced from a free challenge before. So the value that you offer, even in that opt in, is just really extraordinary. So I really hope people go check it out.
Shannon: Oh, thank you, thank you. And I want to say, your clients don't need your website to be perfect. They just need to be able to find you and connect with you. Or after you have found them, they need to be able to go and really make sure that you're the right person for them. Your words matter so much more than what your website looks like.
Lee: Yes, very true. Let's shift a little bit into, alright, let's say we've got a website. It's out there, it's published, it's ready for the world. Now, of course, the question is, how do we get people to check out our new beautiful website? Those are some other questions that I get asked a lot in terms of traffic, and how do I get more traffic to my website. And I know that this is something that you spend a lot of time talking about with your clients, and so forth. So I'm curious, especially for coaches who are just kind of getting themselves out there in the world, where should they begin when it comes to bringing people to their website?
Shannon: I love this question because I spent so much time trying to be on Instagram, or be on YouTube, or Pinterest strategy, or learning all of this stuff. And at the end of the day, it was not any of that at all that was bringing the traffic to my website, I was spending my time doing all this crazy stuff. What was bringing traffic to my website was my freebie. So, my freebie solves a problem for people. And they were like, “Oh my gosh, I want to tell all my friends about this free thing”. And so when I talked to you about, like having an email opt in with something that you give away for free, the thing that you do to coach people, to solve people's problems, like, how can you create something that is an asset? Something that you give away for free? Some kind of information, something that's actionable, that's going to help people believe that they can actually solve their problem. I think the biggest component that you could include in whatever information you're going to give away in this free thing, makes them go from believing it's not possible, to have what you help them do to believing it's not possible to have this transformation, to them actually believing that it's possible to have this transformation and maybe even start them down the path a little bit. And so that's the thing that you can then use as leverage to approach other people who already have the audience of people that you want to serve. So say you are, give me an example of a coaching niche that you see.
Lee: Yes, relationship coaching. I have a lot of members in the Coach with Clarity Membership, who are providing relationship coaching.
Shannon: Yes. Okay. So, relationship coaching. What I would be doing is, I would be making a list of anybody who is a coach for like mompreneurs, or anybody who does anything peripheral related to like family in different ways, that is kind of in the online space, that does something different than you but has the same audience. So like, think about who needs relationship coaching, who is already serving these people, but in a different way. And make a list of those people and then reach out and say, “Hey, I love what you're doing, I think your audience could really benefit from this free thing that I created”. You know, there's more to building that relationship than just that initial cold outreach, but building a network of people who do the same thing that you do, in a different way, and collaborating with them to get their stuff in front of your audience. That's what I started doing, in the very early days of trying to get my five day website challenge in front of other people. I would interview people who were business coaches on my blog. And that's kind of how I started getting in front of other people. But then I was like, that's not good enough, I should be on Instagram and Pinterest, and doing search engine optimization and all this stuff. And it was all those other relationships that I had built that were bringing me traffic. And so I stopped doing all of the other stuff, and I exclusively focus on connecting with people who serve my audience in a different way and figuring out how we can collaborate to serve each other's audience, and there's so many different ways that you can do it. And I think that that's the quickest way to start getting traffic, and you also create these long term relationships that continue to bring you traffic over time.
Lee: I think that is really the gem that you've just hit on. That when it comes to marketing, all we're talking about is building relationships.
Lee: At the end of the day, it is about the relationship. And that's why some people get a little gun shy when it comes to marketing, because we have seen marketing tactics that have been anything but relationship oriented. Where it's been, “Buy my stuff”, “Come to my shop”, you know, “Work with me”. And it centers the business owner versus centering the client, or centering the referent. And so I love what you just said about making sure that your marketing is really anchored in true relationship building, because that is what leads to a sustainable business. Hands down.
Shannon: So good. Yes.
Lee: The other thing too, I want to point out that your email opt in, the five day challenge, is such a wonderful example of being generous with your knowledge. I mean, the amount of value in that challenge is something that people could easily pay hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for. I mean, it is a really robust course. And yet, you are providing it as your free opt in. And I just want to let people know that, I'm assuming this is the case, like that hasn't prevented people from working with you. You're not giving away too much. If anything, it's making them want to work with you even more.
Shannon: Yeah, it's really interesting, because I never intended to ever sell anything else. So my five day website challenge I do affiliate marketing in there, which is probably a topic for another time, but it's a tactic where I make recommendations inside that challenge for things that you're going to have to buy anyway. And then I teach you how to use those. And if you choose to buy those things, with my link, I get a commission from those companies. So it's like a win-win, you get it for free, I get commissions, but you don't have to buy any of the stuff that I recommend to take the challenge. It wasn't like my strategy in the first place, to create this incredible free thing, and have it kind of like take on a life of its own. But yes, what happened after I gave all that away for free as people would say, “Hey, will you just build my website for me because you clearly know what you're doing. And I don't want to do it. And I need help”. Or, “Hey, can you help me figure out how to market my business? Because clearly, I see you all over the place. How are you doing this?”, or so many opportunities have come from that. And the thing is, is like yes, I give it away for “free”. But the value of getting an email address on my list is huge to me. The value of someone signing up for my free thing, getting results, five years later, inviting me on their podcast to talk to other people about -like, it plants so many seeds. So it might be free, but the return I get from giving that away, is not even quantifiable in terms of money. And so I just don't think you can give too much away for free. You could tell someone your whole coaching methodology, probably and they would still not be able to apply it and self coached themselves, they would still need you to help them through things. They just can't see what they don't see. Like, there's just no way that they could do what you do for them without you. It just helps them believe that they could actually solve the problem, it makes you the best person to solve it for them when they're ready.
Lee: Yes. So through this free email opt in, we're able to help our clients solve an issue or a challenge that they're facing. It gives us an opportunity to be really generous with our knowledge, because then that positions us as the expert in that field. So that, when they want more assistance, you are top of mind, and they are coming to you for that. So really, I don't think it's a problem to share too much. If that's even possible, I'm not sure it is. Because again, people aren't going to work with you, because of your knowledge. They're going to work with you because of how you apply it and how you engage with them. So in my opt in right now, it's the Coach with Clarity Business Blueprint. I mean, it's like a 28 page guide, that basically tells you everything you need to do to build your coaching business. You could take that guide and run with it, and make it work on your own. And if you do, I'm going to be celebrating you every step of the way. And maybe you'll realize, “Oh, I'd like a little extra support around this, maybe I should join the membership”. So again, it just builds. And I think when we're able to build a community that understands the importance of being generous with your knowledge, and that's service driven, that's also how you're going to find your people. So, I just, I love this strategy. And again, it's one that you've been talking about for years that I was able to implement in my business pretty early on. And so I'm very grateful for that.
Shannon: I'm so glad that it's working for you so well, too. Because yeah, it's like we do want people to take our free stuff and win. I love seeing that, and the other part of it is that you don't know what you don't know. And that's really what these freebies also help people understand. The other part of it is that I have had people, like it blows my mind, tell me like, just like you on the podcast, “I've grown my business”. I've had people come on and say, “Oh, yeah, I learned how to build a website, and now I have a multi million dollar business”. And I'm like, “But they never bought a single thing from me? Are you kidding me?”. Look what they were able to do. And I still benefit from that way more than if they spent $197 on my website templates. Like, it's so rewarding in other ways other than money, but the money will come. You cannot give too much away for free. We still have to run businesses, we want them to be sustainable and profitable for ourselves, and they absolutely will be.
Lee: Yes. So that's why when we can connect that email opt-in directly with paid offerings, then you're just creating a natural path for your client to take. They're entering your world, they're getting to know you, they're understanding more about what it is you do. And so, then we can point them to the next step. Which might be to join the membership or be a part of my program, whatever that looks like. But that initial opt-in is really the key to building traffic, building your email list and connecting with the people you most want to serve.
Shannon: Yeah, imagine if that was the only piece of content you really had to create, and then it was your job to just go make friends, and build relationships, and share their content, and they're sharing your content, and that's kind of all it was. It sounds pretty amazing. I also resisted blogging a lot back in the day, until I found podcasting as my medium. Because I was just like, “I don't know what to say”, like, you know? And it was so much more fun to go interview somebody else and build that relationship, and make that friendship, than trying to fit yourself into this box that everybody says you need to be in to market yourself.
Lee: What if it's possible that marketing could be easy and fun? That's really what it comes down to.
Shannon: Yeah. And I also like to say, it's not about us people get so wrapped up in like, “Oh, but I just started, but I'm new. But I, you know, I don't have these certifications. I'm an imposter”. All of this stuff. And it's like, but what if it wasn't about you? What if it was just all about the person that you're trying to help? What if it's just about you letting them know how you can help them, and letting them make their own decision on whether or not they want to work with you? Because I was like, “I can't call myself a web designer. I didn't go to school for this. I'm self taught”, like all of this stuff that kind of really held me back. And then when I flipped it around to be like, “But can I help someone figure out how to do this? Can I help someone when I was doing one on one work? Can I build a website for someone?”. When I stopped making it all about me, it just became so much easier. And got coaching also, for all my weirdness.
Lee: Oh, you're not alone in that. And well, naturally, I'm going to be a huge advocate for coaching. But I so appreciate you being here today and sharing your journey with us, sharing your expertise when it comes to websites, and creating traffic. I am positive that there are going to be listeners who want to connect with you, and learn more about you and the work that you do. So where is the best place for them to find you?
Shannon: Yeah, just my website, ShannonMattern.com. Everything's there, the free five day website challenge is right there front and center, just like I told you guys to do. And my podcast is there, if you want to listen to other people's side hustle to self employed journeys. And yeah, that's the best place to connect with me.
Lee: Excellent. We will have a link to your website in the show notes. But again, Shannon, I just want to thank you so much for coming on the show today. It's been such a pleasure to talk to you about not just websites, but about business growth and what's possible for you, for me, for everyone who's listening, this has been a real joy. So thank you.
Shannon: Thank you so much for having me.
I am so grateful to Shannon, not just for coming on the Coach with Clarity Podcast, but really for creating a business that is devoted to supporting coaches and online entrepreneurs like you and like me, who are looking for support in developing and growing their websites. I feel so fortunate that five years ago when I was first starting out, I somehow stumbled upon her free Five Day Website Challenge. Honestly, for the life of me I do not remember how I found her, and yet I am so grateful that I did. And if you want to check out her Five Day Website Challenge, all you have to do is head to CoachwithClarity.com/wpBFF that stands for WordPress BFF. And that will take you right to the signup page for her free Five Day Website Challenge. I hope you enjoyed this week's episode of the Coach with Clarity Podcast, and I will be back in your feed with a brand new episode next week. Until then, my name is Lee Chaix McDonough, reminding you to get out there and show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity.